Singapore – The Food Paradise
By Dennis Goh

Our reputation as a food heaven is well known, with the wide range of cuisines and tantalising food from hawker centres to restaurants. Food reviews from HungryGoWhere show you where to get some satisfying bites in Singapore.

From Singapore's traditional cuisines such as Chinese, Indian and Malay, to cultural cuisine permutations such as Peranakan, to exotic cuisines (such as Moroccan, Arabic and Russian) brought in by the newer immigrants, Singapore's dining landscape is a mouth-watering delight for all gourmets.

With already more than 17,000 F&B establishments, including restaurants, cafes, bars and hawker stalls, eating in Singapore has never been more fun! With so much to explore but so little space, we will limit our introduction to the five most popular cuisines in Singapore: Western, Chinese, Malay/ Indonesian, Indian, the ubiquitous Singaporean/Peranakan cuisine. If you're at a loss as to what to try, let the HungryGoWhere community help you out.

Launched in February 2007, HungryGoWhere is Singapore's most popula rand fastest growing dining website (http://www.HungryGoWhere.com) with
more than 170,000 unique visitors using the portal every month and generating 1.7 million page views. There are now more than 10,000 reviews (and growing!) contributed by Singaporeans who, in total, have visited more than 5,000 restaurants and dining places.

Western
Western cuisine is the most generic of the six key cuisines in Singapore and represents a broad mix of cuisine types from the West. Ranging from European, Mediterranean, and Australian to North and Latin American, the first type of Western cuisine to arrive in Singapore was British, the founders of modern Singapore.

Traditionally popular dishes served by many Western restaurants in Singapore include prime ribs, steaks, lamb shanks, various forms of pasta and pizza dishes, fish and chips, burgers and hot dogs. Mediterranean or Spanish dishes, such as Spanish paella, Moroccan tagin and Turkish kebabs are also growing in popularity.

Some of the more talked about Western restaurants amongst the HungryGoWhere community are:

Ristorante De Parma
Address:
14B Kensington Park Road, Serangoon Garden Estate
Singapore 557265

Tel: 6280 1096

Operating Hours:
Daily: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm (Closed on Wed)

Place:
Restaurant

Cuisine:
Western, European, Italian

Average price:
approx. $25 - 35/pax (based on 12 reviews)

Specialty:
Tiramisu, Insalata Spinache (Warm Spanish Salad), Ravioli al burro e Salvia (Ravioli filled with ricotta cheese & spinach in creamy cream sauce, Spaghetti con Prosciutto e Funghi (Param Ham & mushroom in aglio e olio), Chocolate Fondant


Comments by HungryGoWhere community
"Food quality is particularly impressive for a restaurant that utilizes only local chefs and service is attentive yet non intrusive"

"Having read some rave reviews about Ristorante De Parma, I decided to make a reservation for my Valentine's Day dinner this year. I am glad to say that driving all the way down from the western end of Singapore where I live to Serangoon Gardens was worth my time…The veal was juicy and savoury. I usually eat at breakneck speeds but the veal was so good that I took my time to chew, enjoying the delectable juice that oozed out with every bite…I could never forget the look on my wife's face when she took the first bite of the fondant. Her face lit up completely and it's the first time in our 8 years together that I see her so pleased with any dessert." 

"They pull off a very hard-to-find combination: a place suitable for a date as well as for a family dinner with the kids."

Sweet Indulgence

Address:
2 Stanley Street
Singapore 068721

Tel: 6223 7707

Operating Hours:
Mon-Fri: 10am - 10pm
Closed Sat, Sun, PH

Place:
Restaurant

Cuisine:
Western, European, Seafood

Average price:
approx. $25 - 35/pax (based on 9 reviews)

Specialty:
Sauteed Seafood Platter, Garlic Prawns, Spaghetti Marinara, Warm Choco Lava Indulgence

Comments by HungryGoWhere community
"Tucked away in a quiet street housed inside a shophouse, this kind of dinner setting appeals to me somewhat because of the tranquility you don't get in the malls…The mushroom soup's really good! I also enjoyed the tenderloin!...I liked the fact that their greens are always very fresh…We truly enjoyed the Lava Choc which was Oooozing with warm chocolate…Will definitely recommend this dinner place to all my friends. Great for hanging out and just chit chatting"

"Upon stepping into the restaurant, I felt as if I had transported into another world all together. The bar counter, the simple yet comfortable furnitures under the dim spot-light made us feel totally at ease. The staff was very friendly, and he told us to make ourselves at home…To end off our delightful meal, there is no doubt desserts are a must at such a sweet place like Sweet Indulgence. Warm chocolate cake filled with melted dark chocolate, served with tropical fruits and a scoop of ice cream…The first moment the tiramisu goes inside my mouth, I fell in love with it. Touching the tip of my tongue, the super soft texture of the cake immediately melted and touched my heart. Beautiful is the word, heavenly is the feeling"

Melvados Café

Address:
559 Bukit Timah Road, #01-01, King's Arcade Singapore 269695

Tel: 6469 3101

Operating Hours:
Daily: 10.30am - 10pm

Place:
Café, Bakery/Dessert

Cuisine:
Western

Average price:
approx. $5 - 15/pax (based on 3 reviews)

Specialty:
Sizzling Brownies Sensation

Comments by HungryGoWhere community
"Sizzling Brownies Sensation – the dish you need to try when you are around the corner... a hot-plate-heated rich brownie doused in a scoop of ice-cream with hot fudge that hardens with time... the smell is so aromatic you can taste the choc through your nose"

"If you're looking for a hot warm dessert then this is the place for you. Get the brownies served in a hot plate with a nice scoop of ice cream on the top."

Chinese
Chinese cuisine remains the largest and most established cuisine in Singapore, not surprising since the Chinese form the majority race in Singapore. Traditional Chinese cuisine in Singapore comprises the various Chinese dialect cuisine types such as  Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Hokchiu, Hakka and Hainanese.

Most Chinese dishes served in Singapore today can trace their culinary origins to southern China, but most have since been adjusted to suit local tastes. There is more frequent use of heavy sauces (curries, cream, and milk) and spices (chillies, tamarind, turmeric etc) in Singaporean Chinese cuisine — a result of experimentation with local Malay, Indian and even Western cuisines. For example, Cantonese, Teochew and Hokkien cuisines (the three largest dialect groups in Singapore) have traditionally focused on fresh seafood with minimal adulterations. But these cuisines now regularly include localised dishes such as curry fish head, sambal sotong ("squid") and wasabi prawns.

Crystal Jade Kitchen (Holland Village)

Address:
2 Lorong Mambong
Holland Village
Singapore 277671

Tel: 6469 0300

Operating Hours:
Mon - Thurs: 7am - 3am
Fri - Sun & PH: 7am - 4am

Place:
Restaurant

Cuisine:
Asian, Chinese

Average price:
approx. $15 - 25/pax (based on 10 reviews)

Specialty:
Mapo Cui Tofu (Crispy Mapo Beancurd), Seafood Hor Fun, Seafood Noodles, Beef Brisket Noodles, Chicken Soup, Roasted Meat

Comments by HungryGoWhere community
"Almost everything is good. The roasted meat, char siew, hor fun, vegetables, noodles, fried rice, soup, dim sum! All yummy!"

"Always filled with people and despite that, the crew there actually remembers you. It's nice to go to a place and have positive and friendly people serve you."

Lei Garden (Chijmes)

Address:
30 Victoria Street
#01-24 Chijmes
Singapore 187996

Tel: 6339 3822

Operating Hours:
Lunch: 11.30 am - 3 pm
Dinner: 6 pm – 9.30 pm

Place:
Restaurant

Cuisine:
Asian, Chinese, Cantonese, Seafood

Average price:
approx. $55 - 65/pax (based on 8 reviews)

Specialty:
Double boiled tonic soups, shark's fin soups, seafood

Comments by HungryGoWhere community
"Their dim sums are heavenly! Expensive but worth every dime. Try their suckling pig and roast pork (best enjoyed with mustard sauce). The fish and prawns are very fresh. Stirred fried vegetables are done to perfection. Probably one of the best Cantonese restaurants in Singapore!"

Malay & Indonesia
The Malays are the native population of the region, and their cuisine had been around long before the British arrived. The close proximity to Indonesia has also led to some Indonesian influences in local Malay cuisine, stretching back to the 12th century. Traditional favourites like mee goreng (Malay fried noodles), nasi padang (rice with assortment of dishes), nasi lemak (coconut rice), satay (skewered BBQ meat) and goreng pisang (fried bananas) are popular with Singaporeans of all races.

There are currently 120 restaurant outlets serving Malay or Indonesian cuisine and many of them are family-owned, which adds a personal touch to every dining experience.

Ayam Bakar Ojolali

Address:
304 Orchard Road
#03-39/43 Lucky Plaza
Singapore 238863

Tel: 6235 3597

Operating Hours:
Daily: 11am – 9pm

Place:
Restaurant

Cuisine:
Asian, Malay / Indonesian

Average price:
approx. $5 - 15/pax (based on 7 reviews)

Specialty:
Ayam Bakar, Gado Gado


Comments by HungryGoWhere community

"‘Must try is the ayam bakar. It's tender and the sauce is sweet. Coupled with the sambal that can make you cry and lost your tongue sensations is heavenly."

Indian
Most Indians that arrived in Singapore during the 19th century came from South India, so it is not surprising that most Indian food found in Singapore originate from the southern part of India.

South Indian food tends to be spicier and less creamy than North Indian food. Komala villas is a popular South Indian dish, where you can tuck into hearty portions of spicy vegetarian curries and various inventive flour based items such as bhatura, dosai and chappati.

Meanwhile, North Indian cuisine has started to penetrate Singapore in a big way, with many North Indian restaurants opening in various parts of the city. Northern Indian cuisine is known to be quite elaborate and time consuming to prepare. For example, more than 20 spices are used to prepare many Northern Indian briyani dishes. There are also traces of Persian/Iranian influences in many Northern Indian dishes.

Herbs & Spices

Address:
207 Upper Thomson Road Yew Lian Park
Singapore 574346

Tel: 62529038/
9299 0893

Operating Hours:
Tue-Fri:
Lunch: 11am - 3pm
Dinner: 6pm - 11pm
Sat, Sun & PH:
Lunch/Dinner: 11am -11pm
(Closed on Mondays)

Place:
Restaurant

Cuisine:
Asian, European, Indian, North Indian, South Indian, Italian, Seafood

Average price:
approx. $15 - 25/pax (based on 5 reviews)

Specialty:
Palak Paneer, Mutton Fried Rice (on request, not in menu)

Comments by HungryGoWhere community
"If you're coming in a large group….and not everyone likes North Indian food, opt for the Italian menu….As a Euradian restaurant - the first of its kind in Singapore - they specialise in both North Indian and Italian cuisine."

"Not only do they make you feel welcome from the moment you set foot in their restaurant, they also go to great lengths to ensure that they give you exactly what you want."

Singaporean/ Peranakan
This is the by far the hardest cuisine to define – what exactly is Singaporean cuisine? Certainly, our hawker food would constitute a major portion of what is distinctively Singaporean. But what about restaurants and fine dining? When can we say a restaurant serves authentic "Singaporean" cuisine?

We like to define it this way — a home grown restaurant is one that serves a mixture of Chinese, Indian and Malay food, in different permutations that have blurred the lines between three cuisines. The most famous "local-born" cuisine must be Peranakan cuisine — a cuisine born out of inter-marriage between the Chinese and Malays in Malaysia and Singapore, and has attained a strong distinctive character of its own.

We have also seen restaurants serving food from at least two out of the three local cuisine types (Chinese, Indian, Malay), with interesting mix-and-matching across the cuisines that start to develop distinctive characteristics of their own. Take for example, the ubiquitous fish head curry, borne out of the fusion of Chinese and Indian cuisines.

Among the best Singaporean/Peranakan restaurants that the HungryGoWhere community raves about are:

Penang Place

Address:
6 International Business Park
#01-05 The Atrium
Singapore 609918

Tel: 6899 9446

Operating Hours:
Mon-Sat: 11.30am - 2pm, 6.30pm - 9.30pm
Closed Sundays

Place:
Restaurant

Cuisine:
Asian, Malay / Indonesian

Average price:
approx. $25 - 35/pax (based on 7 reviews)

Specialty:
Char kway Teow, Laksa, Prawn Mee, Nasi Lemak, Kueh-Kueh (Peranakan dessert), Chendol, Ice-Kachang

Comments by HungryGoWhere community
"This place has many local fare under one roof, albeit the Penang version - laksa, nasi lemak, char kway teow, prawn mee etc. The must try is the char kway teow which is freshly replenished often because it is snapped up so fast! Also has an assortment of kueh-kuehs and ‘do-it-yourself' desserts like chendol and ice kachang."

"A good place to bring non-local friends to try Asian food as well as for kids who would have fun making their own ice kachang"

Por Kee Eating House

Address:
Blk 69 Seng Poh Lane
#01-02
Singapore 160069

Tel: 6221 0582

Operating Hours:
Daily: 11.30am - 2.30pm, 5.30pm - 12.30am

Place:
Restaurant

Cuisine:
Asian, Chinese, Singaporen

Average price:
approx. $15 - 25/pax (based on 6 reviews)

Specialty:
Champagne Pork Ribs, Oat Meal Prawns, Thai Style Fish, Chef's Special Tofu

Comments by HungryGoWhere community
"The food here is good. Bubbling hot Tom Yum Fish in a metal dish, 'Champagne' Pork Ribs, Oat Meal butter prawns... all the good stuff that makes Singapore Singapore."

"A great place to show your foreign guest real Singapore cuisine!"

We hope that you've learnt a bit more about the different cuisines available in Singapore. There is so much more that could not be covered, like Japanese or Thai cuisine, both of which are hugely popular in Singapore. One thing is for sure — when you visit Singapore, be it for business or pleasure, the trip is bound to end up being a culinary tour as well!

This is what "Uniquely Singapore" is all about, and all of us at HungryGoWhere hope that you would have a wonderful time dining out in Singapore!

The following article is contributed by Dennis Goh, one of the Three Hungry Men who launched in February 2007 Singapore's most popular and fastest growing dining website – www.HungryGoWhere.com.  More than 170,000 unique visitors use HungryGoWhere every month and generate 1.7 million page views With more than 10,000 reviews (and growing!) contributed by locals who have already visited a total of 5,000 restaurants and dining places, HungryGoWhere ensures that finding information and doing research on restaurant dining in Singapore would never be difficult again!